One of my good friends from grad school now studied passalid beetles at the University of Kentucky. While she’s interested in cooperation and sociality, it just so happens that passalids are of interest to another group of researchers.
Dr. Eoin Brodie works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and is also an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (whew, that’s a mouthful).
One of their research projects is to understand how these beetles might optimize biofuel production by studying the beetle’s symbiotic gut relationships. Let’s hear it for my alma mater!
Passalid beetles: Nature’s efficient lignocellulosic biorefineries | Brodie Environmental Microbiology Group @ LBNL.
Photo Courtesy of the NY Times
An interesting project in Montana and a great display as a demonstration garden. Agricultural sustainability seems to be more than just a buzz word lately. Find more on Gloria Flora’s work here.
I think one of my main motivations of this blog is to check back every so often, and think about the context of my work within a greater body of knowledge. That, and considering the importance of my work and the potential impact it has.
As I was getting an oil change the other day, I came across a Scientific American article about scientific perception, the title: Trust Me, I’m a Scientist. It made me think of another science-y article, The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science, on Mother Jones. One short article, one long article, both valuable in trying to understand the battles I may face as a scientist.
There is truly a great deal of value in the work in which my colleagues are involved. My focus is in the applied sector and problem solving with growers. In this regard, it is important to understand and recognize the preconceptions and notions based on cultural and experiential knowledge that people may have.
While researching some interesting bugs for Expanding Your Horizons, I came across this great educational project engaging young scientists and teaching them about vernal pools.
It’s an inspiration to see environmental outreach and science education working together to encourage a new generation of citizen and research scientists.
So when I heard that the NSF GK-12 program (National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in K-12 Education) has been cancelled due to cuts in the 2012 budget, I couldn’t be more disappointed. An article published in Science describes reasoning for and reaction to this decision. It’s a large program, and an impactful one at that. Not only is it beneficial for K-12 classrooms, it is valuable experience for graduate students like myself. Suffice it to say that many, many people are upset.
If you want to add to the discussion and dissent, I encourage you to write to save GK-12 and support opportunities for science education.